Facebook Makes Teenagers Vulnerable

I really understand the need for companies to make money.  I really do! But I feel that Facebook is going too far.

It has announced that it will allow teenagers, ages 13 to 17, to post status updates, videos and images that can be seen by anyone, not just their friends or people who know their friends.

Facebook claims that it will give these teenagers more choice, I believe it is so they can make more money from their advertisers.“ It puts these children more at-risk. Facebook requires users to post under their real identities, which would allow predators as well as business access to personal information.  Some privacy advocates said would make it much more difficult to run away from stupid or thoughtless remarks.

Facebook said the company would also educate teenagers about the risks of sharing information and periodically remind them, if they make public posts, that everyone can see what they are sharing.

The company, has about its 1.2 billion users worldwide, is locked in a battle with Twitter and Google to attract consumer advertisers like food, phone and clothing companies. Those brands want to reach people as they engage in passionate public conversation about sports, television, news and live events. Facebook is reducing children’s privacy even as lawmakers are moving in the opposite direction, grappling with difficult issues like online bullying and the question of whether to allow people to erase their digital histories.

In September, a 12-year-old Florida girl, Rebecca Ann Sedwick, committed suicide after extensive bullying on Facebook. This month, Florida authorities charged two youngsters with aggravated stalking in the case. Around 70 percent of children have suffered from some form of bullying online, according to a recent survey of 10,000 children conducted by the British charity Ditch the Label.

Privacy advocates have complained to the F.T.C. that Facebook was violating a 2011 order that required the company to obtain explicit permission from its customers before using their data in advertising. Facebook said it still had certain privacy safeguards in place for teenagers that make it harder for strangers to search and find them, but it declined to be more specific.

If you feel the way that I do, let the Federal Trade Commission and Facebook know!